I was a wild and barefoot child, the one they had to search the cane fields for each evening before dinner. The bane of Miss Stella's prim and proper existence. The one who chose to be Robin Hood for Hallowe'en rather than the "more appropriate" Maid Marian. Sure, she was pretty, but she didn't have nearly as much fun.
On Sundays we would dress all the way up. Lace gloves and a bit of lace pinned on top of our heads. Shoes. God but I hated shoes! I loved the stained glass, though, and the statues and the songs. I loved the smell of polish and incense.
Sundays meant behaving all day long, too. We would go to the park, but because we were in our Sunday clothes, we had to sit nicely and not chase the geese. Miss Joanne was scared of the geese and would climb up on the tables whenever they came too close. She was all of four feet ten, not much taller than some of the geese when they stretched their necks to see if there was any bread in our potluck.
Much later, after Memam and Pop were gone, Miss Stella would confide to me that she once ordered pizza—and liked it! This from the woman who, every day at 2:00, would have us come sit and drink tea. On special occasions we got melted squares of chocolate covered in warm cream so that the chocolate melted and it was like drinking a dessert. I had a drink like it once at George V in Paris, and that one was good, but Miss Stella's was better, probably because we couldn't have it just whenever we wanted. We had to earn it.
When I was 21, Miss Stella gave me the pearls Pop had hand picked and had set for her. I never wear them, but I like to look at them sometimes. I have a lot of jewelry, enough to make a fine Mayan sacrifice, and each piece is important for one reason or another. These pearls are all that I have of Pop, and soon they'll be all that is left of Miss Stella, either. Crazy Miss Stella, who used to stop and leave her Town Car in the road when she got tired of driving. She would just walk the rest of the way home. It was a small town, after all, and the police would invariably come get the car and drive it back to the house.
The cane fields are gone, the house is gone, no one dresses for Sunday any more, and I'm still barefoot as often as I can get away with it. Last year I was Loki for Hallowe'en rather than the "more appropriate" Black Widow. She's pretty, sure, but Loki has so much more fun.
Life happens, you see, and things change, but people seldom do.